Corporate media

From ArticleWorld

The mainstream media is often called “corporate media” by political leftists and progressives. This is to say that the media is subject to a corporate bias, because most news outlets are owned by a small number of corporations. The three largest media-owning corporations in the United States are General Electric, Viacom and the Disney Corporation. Critics of corporate media say that this small ownership cabal engages in the filtering and censorship of legitimate news stories. It is often said that this concentrated ownership allows a small group of people to shape the views expressed by a large number of media outlets.

A model has been created by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, which illustrates the mechanisms by which the media is focused in support of a limited set of acceptable views. Contrary to the common misconception that all perceived bias is due to an explicit program of top-down editorial control, Chomsky and Herman’s model shows that there are many factors involved in the shaping of news and media culture.

Media Structure

Aside from editorial demands to make news that is supportive of corporate owners and corporate culture, there is also a propensity on the part of individual reporters to create news stories as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many newspapers buy their content from international wire services, such as the Associated Press. Others will publish press releases from political groups, corporations, advertising agencies and lobbyists without taking the time to verify or correct information. Therefore, it is often seen that a large number of news outlets will cover the same story, with the same views, almost word-for-word. There is generally little or no room—or time—for advanced critique or research into a story that is made available by large press corporations for national or international publication. Reporters and editors need news for the local papers, and the usually don’t have time to write it themselves.

Newspapers are also under pressure to avoid lawsuits from large corporations. A lawsuit, whether won or lost, is almost always crippling for the defendant. It is not surprising that most newspapers try to avoid the possibility of such a lawsuit occurring at all.

While many leftists see the mainstream media as being “corporate,” many on the right accuse it of being too “liberal.” Surveys have shown that individual reporters tend to be leftist or progressive, but this bias has been shown in the same studies to disappear as one examines the higher tiers of editorial management and ownership.